Joan Kiddell-Monroe

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Joan Kiddell-Monroe (1908–1972) was a British author and illustrator of children's books, particularly notable for her folk-tale illustrations.


Joan Kiddell-Monroe was born on August 9, 1908 in Clacton-on-Sea, England. She studied at the Chelsea School of Art and worked in advertising for a while before becoming a freelance artist.

In the late 1930s she married Webster Murray, a Canadian-illustrator who died in 1957. Before the war she travelled in Africa with him and after his death returned there with her son. She lived the later years of her life in Majorca where she died in 1972.


Joan Kiddell-Monroe is best known for her book illustrations, and was a prolific illustrator between the 1940s and 1960s. Her work often deals with animals and life overseas, particularly in Africa. She illustrated the Oxford Myths and Legends series for the OUP, which includes legends and folk-tales from China, Scandinavia, the West Indies and many other places. She illustrated a number of Patricia Lynch's Irish books including Long Ears and Orla of Burren.

Joan illustrated all six books of the Ladybird series of The Adventures of Wonk about a koala. Four of her own In His Little Black Waistcoat stories for children feature a panda as the hero.

She used various styles and media, including scraperboard, wash and pen and ink. For her version of Arabian Nights (Dent, 1951), she used a formal decorative treatment, while the Aesop's Fables, (Blackwell, 1972) was illustrated in vivid, flat colours.

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